SADTU would like to welcome back all learners and teachers in all provinces in both inland who started on the 7th and the coastal opening on the 14th for the 2013 academic year. It is our view that 2013 should be the year of continued improvement of educational outcomes and an intensified assault on the vast inequalities that remain in the system as indicated by the 2012 matric results. This must be the year that is characterized by tangible progress in terms of education infrastructure development, teacher development with targeted intensive training on indigenous languages which is fully funded, a reduction in the teacher/leaner ratio particularly in quintile 1 & 2 schools, finalizing the restructuring of teacher salaries and conditions of service for teachers amongst other non-negotiables.
A country with socio-economic disparities such as ours must at all material times promote quality public education as one of the critical interventions towards lessening the divide. SADTU has over the years positioned its self as a pivotal part of the solution towards mitigating some of our known educational challenges and will continue to do so in this academic year. We are saying, in support of quality public education, teachers will continue to be on time, prepared, in class and on task. We therefore expect the DBE to be on task, responsible, on time and deliver the necessary resources to all schools in particular the reappointment of all the temporary teachers in fully funded posts.
We welcome and want to wish the matric class of 2013 well, equally we must highlight that the education system consists of 11 other grades that require as much attention and effort from all role players. Our reality is that less than half of the learners that entered the system in 2001 sat for their matric exams in 2012, a major indictment for our country. This is an indication that more needs to be done towards retaining learners in the system particularly as we welcome new entrants in the form of Grade 1 learners.
It is against this background that we want to re-emphasize our call for education to be elevated into a societal matter as per the government led quality learning and teaching campaign. This is but one of the interventions that would assist us in retaining learners in the system. We are once again making a clarion call for increased parental involvement in education, case studies from countries with a similar anatomy to ours indicate that there is a direct correlation between increased parental involvement and improved learner outcomes.
The 2015 target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Education for All (EFA) is fast approaching. We strongly believe that the new development and EFA framework should cover all levels and forms of education and be guided by the following fundamental principles:
- Human rights in general and the right to education in particular should be the explicit foundation for a new development and education framework,
- Access to early childhood, primary, and secondary education must be a fundamental goal,
- Improving access and pathways to higher education and vocational education and training must be a priority,
- Education quality must be considered an integral part of access,
- Quality education requires quality teachers,
- A broad approach to learning is essential,
- improvement of adult literacy must be included,
- Equity needs to be a central concern, with particular attention to gender, disability, special educational needs and other dimensions by which people are marginalized,
- Sufficient education financing essential to ensure implementation and achievement of education and development goals and
- The history and experience of efforts to achieve earlier global education goals should be studied to provide lessons for the future.
In the interest of quality public education, SADTU as a major stake holder will continue to stand firm against corruption and any other regressive actions committed by those given the responsibility to implement policies. We will thus continue to call for the chief accounting officer of the department of basic education, the director general to be removed from office with immediate effect. We call upon the minister of basic education to act now to avoid any labour unrest.
Education remains an apex priority and we all have the obligation to jealously guard against its erosion. The ruling party has made major strides towards promoting and protecting it as such. Let us also take this opportunity to wish the African National Congress well in its 101 year anniversary, this giant of a movement is a product of sweat, tears and blood from the marginilized majority. SADTU wants to see a stronger ANC and it is our view that it will grow from strength to strength and take us into the next logical phase of the National Democratic Revolution.
Khula!! Khongolose wenkululeko khula!!!
ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat
General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke 082 783 2968
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi 082 709 5651
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi 082 719 5157